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Microsoft to unveil new Xbox console on May 21

Redmond promises 'a real taste of the future'

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Microsoft has confirmed that it will unveil the next iteration of its Xbox gaming platform next month.

The new console will be revealed at a special press event that will take place at Microsoft's Redmond campus on May 21. The event will also be streamed on Xbox Live and Xbox.com and simulcast on Spike TV in the US and Canada.

"We are thrilled to pull back the curtain and reveal what we've been working on," Larry Hryb, director of programming for the Xbox Live gaming network, said in a blog post on Wednesday.

Hryb's post gave no details of what Microsoft's latest gaming hardware might bring, other than that it will mark "a new generation of games" and that the unveiling would "give you a real taste of the future."

The new console has already stirred up some controversy, however, over rumors that it will require an always-on connection to the internet in order to function.

Earlier this month, Microsoft creative director Adam Orth all but confirmed the rumors in a series of Twitter posts, in which he opined, "Sorry, I don't get the drama around having an 'always on' console. Every device now is 'always on'. That's the world we live in."

Orth eventually quit his job at Microsoft after his comments sparked an online firestorm among the gaming community.

In response to the kerfuffle, Microsoft issued a statement distancing itself from Orth's comments and disavowing any reports of what might be under the hood of the new Xbox.

"We are very sorry if this offended anyone, however we have not made any announcements about our product roadmap, and have no further comment on this matter," the statement read.

But not every rumor about the new Xbox has been negative. Microsoft is believed to be increasing the console's emphasis on TV and entertainment, in addition to games. A next-generation Kinect controller is also thought to be in the offing.

Xbox in general has been a strong performer for Microsoft. In its most recent quarter, the company's Entertainment and Devices division saw its revenue grow 56 per cent year-on-year, outperforming the Windows, Servers and Tools, and Business divisions.

Following the formal Xbox launch on May 21, Redmond says it will showcase the new console's full games lineup at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) conference in Los Angeles, to take place June 11–13. ®

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